Star Trek goes into darkness

I rarely get offended by a bad movie. When I see one I can usually shrug it off and forget about it. After all, for most movies there's no history attached, no baseline with a similar settings, similar characters, that you can compare it to. But sometimes a director takes a theme that I like, even love, and completely motherfuckingly fucks it up. That's Star Trek Into Darkness. Honestly, I've not been this pissed off since Transformers, and I fear for Star Wars, which is likely to get ruined as well by JJ Abrams, who now joins Michael Bay in the lowest layer of hell.

I loved Star Wars when I was a child. I still do. Star Wars is awesome: it's fantasy, it's fairy tales. It's about amazing possibility. But it's a fiction that's about something else. Some other species in some other galaxy. Star Trek is different. Star Trek has always been about showing how much humanity can accomplish if we could all just get along. Sure, there's been plenty of conflict in every Star Trek series, and it only got worse over the years, but the core concept always remained: do not interfere with other people, or if you have to interfere, try to make peace with them. It was The Next Generation which took this concept to extremes, properly showing a believable Utopian future. Even during conflict TNG had the right undertone: the undertone of peace.

This was a common theme not just between species, but also between characters. If there was tension between characters it was contained and handled in a mature way, with talking and subtlety. You'll notice this is the complete opposite of how the little unlikable fuckhead Kirk of the reboot franchise deals with people. Starfleet is supposed to be this massive organization that has the power to go out into space and make alliances with a vast variety of species, yet they allow this fucking retard to command a starship? That's just... fucked. "Human emotion", my ass. Into Darkness might manage to fully saturate the emotional spectrum of a 12-year-old, but not that of everyone who grew up with the old Star Trek.

I could go into detail about how the movie fails. I could mention how it corresponds perfectly to the template of a standard action movie script, how there's not really any science fiction in the movie as everything that's supposed to look awesome is either already possible with modern technology or was already thought of by the original Star Trek 40 years ago.I could mention how Khan is actually quite a cool villain, but the overblown lines he has to say just had me bursting out laughing and I couldn't take him seriously. But there's no point.

This new movie is not Star Trek. I reject Abrams' view of the Star Trek universe and I can't wait for this reboot universe to be forgotten. It does not deserve to exist, or if it must exist, it should not be called Star Trek. If you want to make a teenage war movie in space then there's really no need to be using the environment of something that other people actually care about. That's just raping their childhood.

Fans don't always get what they want. For Transformers I really wanted to see something dark and gritty that followed the Marvel and IDW comics. instead we got Bumblebee peeing on people and Devastator's scrotum. For Star Trek I really, really wanted to just see a movie about exploration and diplomacy; something with high-level drama that actually requires a brain in order to enjoy it. Instead, what we got was modern-day teenage action movie that happened to be set in space, with otherwise no relation to Star Trek. I am very disappointed.

Posted in Rant | Tagged ,

StarCanvas: a Star Trek based galaxy map


Yes, I've been geeking out lately. I wrote a little Javascript library that displays a 2D galaxy map a la Google maps. The Star Trek-y thing about it is that it divides each area of the galaxy up into sectors of 20x20LY each.

Click to see the StarCanvas demo. Use the mousewheel to zoom out/in. Also available on GitHub

The whole thing started as a private indulgement for a space 'game' that I'll probably never release, but along the way I realized that the map bit was fairly standalone, so I decided to extract it and github it. There's still a ton of things I'm not satisfied with, but I don't know when I'll have the time or motivation to work on this again. Better to release something crap but working than nothing at all.

Things I want to fix: zoom should focus on mouse cursor, not corner of the canvas. Additional backgrounds for zoom levels larger than 1 are currently not working. For the game I'm hoping to fetch area data via ajax from the server but that's a whole other challenge. I also want to show sector contents such as star systems, starbases etc. Currently I've got a separate canvas library that does that, but I think I can integrate them.

More to come? Who knows. At least it's out there. If you fancy it, grab it, touch it, fork it, eat it. Technologic.

Posted in Tech | Tagged ,